Less than one month after Soldotna City Council members were presented with a higher-than-expected cost estimate for the long-awaited field house project, the same body unanimously approved an updated spending plan that will pay for construction of the building.
City administration in June told council members that an updated project cost estimate had put the field house’s total price tag at $28 million — not the $18.3 million previously estimated last year. The city recommended scaling back the project and breaking it up into phases to more effectively move it forward.
Soldotna voters last October gave the city permission to incur up to $15 million in debt to pay for the field house project. Through the project, a 57,000-square-foot athletic and community event facility will be constructed next to the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. It will feature an elevated track as well as a removable turf field and sport courts.
The ordinance approved Wednesday moves funds around such that the city can fully fund the first phase of the field house project, expected to cost about $20.1 million.
Specifically, it newly appropriates money from the city’s general fund and pulls money previously set aside for capital projects to help pay for the bid and construction of the field house.
Soldotna Public Works Director Kyle Kornelis told council members last Wednesday that passing the ordinance would enable the city to put the field house project out to bid and is a product of the council’s June work session on the topic.
In addition to the $15 million in bond proceeds approved last fall, the city will use $3.5 million from its general fund — up from $3 million previously expected, $750,000 in leftover federal COVID-19 funds and $825,000 in capital funding.
Of the $825,000, $575,000 was earmarked for design of conference room expansion at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex and $250,000 was designated for storm drain repair. The city has previously said it feels comfortable redesignating the capital funds because Soldotna has stayed on top of capital funding in recent years.
Wednesday’s Soldotna City Council meeting can be streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.